Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.